Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor's Name

Roger G. Gonzalez

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

George E. O'Brien

Third Advisor's Name

Glenda Musoba

Fourth Advisor's Name

Benjamin Baez

Keywords

Learning gains, Classroom performance system, CPS, Biology, Science Majors, Concept Inventory Questions

Date of Defense

3-28-2013

Abstract

This study was conducted to determine if the use of the technology known as Classroom Performance System (CPS), specifically referred to as “Clickers”, improves the learning gains of students enrolled in a biology course for science majors. CPS is one of a group of developing technologies adapted for providing feedback in the classroom using a learner-centered approach. It supports and facilitates discussion among students and between them and teachers, and provides for participation by passive students. Advocates, influenced by constructivist theories, claim increased academic achievement. In science teaching, the results have been mixed, but there is some evidence of improvements in conceptual understanding.

The study employed a pretest-posttest, non-equivalent groups experimental design. The sample consisted of 226 participants in six sections of a college biology course at a large community college in South Florida with two instructors trained in the use of clickers. Each instructor randomly selected their sections into CPS (treatment) and non-CPS (control) groups. All participants filled out a survey that included demographic data at the beginning of the semester. The treatment group used clicker questions throughout, with discussions as necessary, whereas the control groups answered the same questions as quizzes, similarly engaging in discussion where necessary. The learning gains were assessed on a pre/post-test basis.

The average learning gains, defined as the actual gain divided by the possible gain, were slightly better in the treatment group than in the control group, but the difference was statistically non-significant. An Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) statistic with pretest scores as the covariate was conducted to test for significant differences between the treatment and control groups on the posttest. A second ANCOVA was used to determine the significance of differences between the treatment and control groups on the posttest scores, after controlling for sex, GPA, academic status, experience with clickers, and instructional style.

The results indicated a small increase in learning gains but these were not statistically significant. The data did not support an increase in learning based on the use of the CPS technology. This study adds to the body of research that questions whether CPS technology merits classroom adaptation.

Identifier

FI13042336

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